Coitus Interruptus–Story # 8

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In my email out to family and friends, I warned them that this collection might be about love, but it’s definitely not about romance. “Coitus Interruptus” (and the story that follows it in the book) are the ones that might give some folks pause.

“What,” I can imagine them thinking, “is wrong with that guy?”

I’m not, I can assure you, a pervert, but I did have student once call me Dr. Porno on a student evaluation when I was a graduate student. You can imagine the conversation with the department chair.

Oddly enough, the student wasn’t in the least bit upset that we watched Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacketa brutally violent look at the dehumanizing effects of boot camp and war, but reading Kate Chopin’s “The Storm” sent her over the edge. I guess she wasn’t quite ready to read a story with a vivid description of a female orgasm.

“Coitus” was not inspired by literature or film, and I can assure you all that I wrote it before Joseph Gordon Leavitt’s Don Jona movie about a Jersey guy who searches for intimacy in one night stands and internet porn, ever showed up at the theater.

Back in the day before spam filters, you could (and would) get emails advertising internet porn. On any given day, we might get penile enlargement ads, free ex-girlfriend porn sites, and notes about MILF’s bored and needing a little loving. No worries, right. Hit delete and move on to another student email asking how many absences he has in class.

Every once in a while, though, I would get these aggressively pornographic ads with barely blurred lines on the photos. In full color. On my work computer. With a student in the office conferencing about a paper. The delete button never seemed so far away.

“Coitus Interruptus” was born out of one of those moments. Sort of. In some ways, the story started when I imagined that someone (not me I promise) didn’t hit delete but stood up, closed the door, and clicked on the links as he unbuttoned his pants. (I swear I only imagined it. And not that vividly either.)

The first draft of this story began with “The day Bill Wheatley got caught masturbating in his office, he knew things might never be the same.” The idea, in many ways, was to explore the way internet porn creates opportunities to fulfill certain needs while impeding others. Bill Wheatley gets a letter from an ex-girlfriend who is being tested for HIV and that letter sends him to Shiva Touche, an internet porn star.

“Coitus” has never been published, but I have gotten some really nice rejection letters. One editor wrote that “the story hit a little too close to home” for his magazine. Another said they “worried an ex-employee” might find the story libelous.

Good grief. And I’m Dr. Porno?

Either way, here are the first few paragraphs.

Coitus Interruptus

The day Bill Wheatley got a letter from Kim Novak, a woman he’d dated over a year ago, he had no idea what to expect. The breakup had been messy, and, admittedly, a little disturbing. “The sex was great, but she wanted a little more commitment than I was willing to offer. Plus,” he told a friend from work, “why buy the cow, when you can get the milk for free every Friday night around town? I’m not saying the woman was crazy,” he added, “but she hadn’t seen normal in a few years, if you know what I mean.”

The truth was that when Bill wanted sex, he went out.

“Human interaction,” a professor told him in college, “is another type of transaction. You can become friends with anyone if you can convince them you’re a product worth investing in. Life is all about marketing: accentuate the positive and distract from the negative.”

Bill doubted the old guy was offering dating advice, but he realized early on he could apply his skills as a marketing and ad designer to the bar scene. There was always a willing partner at some local pub: she just didn’t know it yet. Bill would find a booth near the wall and survey the field. Focus on the unexpected—compliment her hair, hands, shoes, earrings, ankle bracelets—anything but what all the other men were staring at that night. Always stroke the erogenous zones with words first, Bill thought.

(If you want to find out how Bill handles stroking those erogenous zones, click on the link above.)

 

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About John Wegner
John Wegner is a Professor of English where he also serves as the Dean of the Freshman College. He and Lana, his wife, have been married over 25 years. They are the parents of two great sons who (so far) haven't ever needed bail money.

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Things I Read

And Things I Learned

Washington Monthly

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Joanne Jacobs

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Inside Higher Ed

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

FiveThirtyEight

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Balloon Juice

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Scott Adams' Blog

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

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